Vol. 1 No. 01 : Quorum

Vol. 1 No. 02 : Prine's Metropolitan

Vol. 1 No. 03 : US3R Of The Darknet

Vol. 1 No. 04 : The Whispers On Carrier X

Vol. 1 No. 05 : Weaving Spiders

Vol. 1 No. 06 : Heng

Vol. 1 No. 07 : Like Love Hate Hate

Vol. 1 No. 08 : Year Zero

Vol. 1 No. 09 : Rishek

Vol. 1 No. 10 : The Zura Contract

In the information age, data is a commodity, ...but knowledge is survival.

It's nothing personal, just business. But how far would you be prepared to go to enforce THE ZURA CONTRACT?

EPISODE TEN is out now on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format.

It's that time. You knew it was coming. After the Rishek incident, would the new world order ever trust their protege, Ulrich Hanser, again?
No. But then it was always unlikely when it turns out he was trying to hide potentially world-changing technology from the self-proclaimed kings of the earth.
From the ruins of the Losharik base at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, MI teams have salvaged enough to understand the power behind Zura's closest secret. But there's a problem. A diplomatic problem.
Seizing the tech and its patents from Hanser is as simple as sending in the troops and walking out with the goods. But there are shareholders involved. Shareholders with patents. Right now, the Committee of Three Hundred is held together by bankers controlling the value of corporate shareholders' wealth. Much of it flows freely amongst the members in the form of shares and intellectual property. They wouldn't take kindly to the spectacle of wealth confiscation at the end of a gun barrel. And so, there needs to be a distraction before Operation Sundog swings into action.
That great icon of world entertainment, Sir Roly Tumble dies aboard his yacht, The White Rabbit. To the television media and its millions of mandatory viewers, it's eight days of uncontrolled grief, and a body that looks no different in death than it did in life, lying in a glass coffin at Westminster Abbey. The funeral circus is an endless parade of tributes from freaks in Hollywood and the ten thousand 'alternative' lobby groups controlled by the social media corporations.
Away from the public gaze, the real game is played out. Tumble's Holy Roly All-Faith Foundation is a child-trafficking operation, bank-rolled by illicit deals that leave no official cash in the coffers of the 'trillionaire' superstar. With Tumble's death, it collapses into a chaos of undelivered goods and certain chemical shortages that affect the corporate elites. Under the cover of temples with no sacrifices, a World Summit on Economic and Geopolitical Realignment with no elevenses, and the last ever Hollywood movie melting down without drugs and underage sex, Dovi Abarlev puts together a team.
Operation Sundog is about to make a problem go away.
In spectacular fashion.

For whom the bell tolls.

RONNIE STARED THROUGH the grimy glass of the shop doorway and out into the street. Does he, or doesn't he? It's a momentous decision. He knew the answer really, and his daydream was broken by the shadow of a double decker bus that pulled up as the lights changed. He wasn't going to bother opening, today. Today was the day he finally called time on the shop.

He'd run out of cash and exhausted the credit. If he carried on for one more week, he wouldn't be able to cancel the order with the distributor and that would mean he wouldn't have the money to pay his accountant to wrap it all up.
The final realisation made him feel sick with failure. He'd had big plans, and worse, he'd told people about them. Boasted to the reps at the distributor, bigged up his customer base and then gone all over the internet telling Facebook that he was about to announce some stupid European festival appearances for the autumn. Oh God. What a climb down this was going to be.
Out in the unforgiving streets, morning shoppers did that plodding stroll up the pedestrianised area, and frankly, from the look of them had their own problems. Tiny old, round Asian women in headscarves and big coats dragged their bags with them. Young mothers with pushchairs stopped at the crossing outside his door and took a pull on the vaping inhaler, letting loose a swirling white cloud as they stared into their phones. No one seemed to be in a hurry, and this part of town had nowhere to bother hurrying to.
He exhaled with a depressed acceptance and then tutted, leaning down to pull the plug on the string of rope light that bordered the grimy window around his display. He cast an eye over the pile of DJ equipment, the big cabs with the union flag fretcloth and the double decks. There were the little PA poles and the gantries of lighting with all the effects. There was also a bucket in the corner catching the drips from the cast iron gutter that had been sprung at the joints for years and the rain had eaten away the twisted wooden beam above the window. With its sloping floors and bubbling lath and plaster, this two hundred year old clay-tiled cubicle was just about ready for demolition. Yeah, Tipton Sound Massive could have been a beast of a shop when it opened eight months ago, but it was a beast that had gone extinct.
It took Ronnie until an hour after Dave's show had finished to get up the courage to put a call through to his mobile. It would always go to ansaphone, then he'd call back with that annoying upbeat radio voice.
“All right, bro, what's happenin' in the big wide?”
Ronnie tried to sound business-like.
“It's movin' on, mate. Movin' on. Look, Dave, I might have to back off from the shop, you know? It's causing my career some serious grief, and I just ain't got the time.”
“Bloody hell. Well, you did say it was busy. What you gonna do, get a manager in or something?”
Ronnie winced.
“Er, well... that just means having to manage a manager, you know what I mean? No, I think I might shelve the retail thing until I can really do it properly.”
Dave's voice grew a little gruff.
“Oh, what you gonna do?”
“Well, obviously get back to regular gigging, you know, Dave? But, I thought it might be an opportunity to explore the broadcasting side of things, too. So, if there's an opening at the Metropolitan, just maybe, I don't know, something in production, I don't mind...”
“Er, mate...”
“...I'll take something pretty low down because, obviously, at the moment with the way things are, I can't commit...”
“Ronnie! Bro, listen. That job was nearly a year ago. Things have changed a bit here. Tightened up, you know? Between you and me, we're getting some serious interest from a London media group. This lot are looking to add internet radio to their operation and we're really fitting the bill. Big talks going on, mate, big talks! Hey, did you listen to my show this morning? Bloody great, wasn't it?”
“Er no... I wasn't up.”
“You lazy git. No wonder real work's getting on top of you.”
Ronnie felt a sinking feeling in his gut.
“Isn't there anything? I don't mind fetching and carrying to start with, like...”
“No, Ron, that's what I mean, they're running a tight ship until they can get a big backer with good advertising. At the mo, it's all Rowley Regis Pizza and Pop, and that bloody cavity wall insulation business.”
“I make a good cup of tea...”
“Sorry mate, nothin' doin'. But if you need some discount advertising for the shop, I'll see what I can do.”
Ronnie stamped around at the back by the shelves of second hand vinyl.
“Oh God, Dave, come on bro! I've closed the bloody shop. I need something else.”
There was a moment of silent realisation down the phone.
“Seriously? Bloody hell, what do you want to do that for? I thought it was doin' OK.”
Ronnie fought with the truth.
“Well, it was, to begin with, but really... I need a break, you know? I need to get back to a regular job so I can concentrate on me sets. Really put together a killer show.”
“What you gonna do for money, Ron? You need to live.”
Ronnie almost threw the phone through the window.
“That is why I'm calling you, isn't it? Just something for six months or so...”
“Why don't you talk to that builder you used to work for? That was good money. Mind you, you did have to get up in the morning.”
“Christ, I don't want to do that again.”
“Or... or, what about that bloke Jack, you know, messed about with record labels and those websites. He had that second hand computer thing going. He was useful, and you're good at coding that HMLT thing.”
“HTML, Dave.”
“Yeah, that's it. You were good at that.”
“I don't want to do coding.”
“I should give him a call, he's always got summat on the go. Look, buddy, I gotta get on, we're having a planning meeting in half an hour and I need to take a dump and get something to eat. Sort of, input output situation. Anyway, let me know how you get on.”
It took Ronnie until later that afternoon to put the call in to the builder. He'd kept busy in the shop, turning over in his mind whether to give it another go, until he realised he was already reboxing some of the disco equipment and stacking it up in the little outhouse next to the crappy kitchen.
“Hi Falk, how you doing, mate? It's Ronnie Mott, remember me? Yeah, of course you do, I was your star worker, wasn't I?”
The voice on the phone didn't sound amused.
“Must be another Ronnie Mott!”
“Ha ha! Yeah, we had some laughs. Look, I was wondering if you had anything right now, that I could just drop onto. I've got a break in me schedule and I could use a couple of weeks of back-breaking toil, you know what I mean?”
“Not really, mate. I'm just finishing up a last job in Coseley. Me and the missus are moving to Shropshire. I'm renovating a place in the Stretton Hills.”
“Shropshire? Bloody hell...”
“Yeah, it's a bit off the beaten track, but a great location. I'm sort of taking a year away, like. But, when I'm settled, I'm gonna look around in the area and see what's going. There's always something.”
“Yeah... there's always something.”
“So, if you find yourself over in farming country next year, give us a call.”
“Yeah, sure. Cheers Falk, mate. I'll keep in touch.”
Ronnie sat on a PA bin, looking out of the window and watching the day fade into gray skies. For an hour or so, he flipped the sign on the door to read Open and turned the rope light back on, but there hadn't been a customer for days. And even when there had been, they weren't proper customers. He was turning away people who wanted a DJ for a kids' party, but who also 'did a bit of magic.' Or pensioners bringing in their old 'gramophone' for repair.
“I don't do bloody repairs.”
“Well, how much will you give us for it?”
Ronnie closed the shop again and walked up to Mumtaz Burger And Fries in the precinct. He got a lamb kebab with garlic mayonnaise and chili sauce and a cardboard cup of some milky water called coffee. He was hoping the sugar would thicken it up a bit as he sat outside on the bench under a lamp post.
He let it tick over in his mind. He had the shop on a twelve month lease from the council's small business initiative. Hardly surprising it was so bloody cheap, it had been boarded up for years. He was sleeping upstairs on a camp bed in the tiny front room, overlooking the pedestrian crossing. It was cold, damp and it smelt of dead rats under the uneven floorboards. But if he could just pay the electric bill, the rest should come out of the council grant. Oh yeah, and food. And his phone. Bugger. He was under water again. What could he do to raise just that much while he put together a DJ set?
“Hi Jack, it's Ronnie. No, Ronnie Mott. The DJ... from Tipton. My brother Dave's on Midlands Metropolitan radio. He got some idents done at your place. Yeah, that's right, I've got the shop. Oh yeah, not bad, you know. But I was wondering if you had anything going on right now that I could help out with. Sort of short term contract stuff?”
Ronnie stopped to listen and took a slurp of the coffee. He almost spat it onto the bench beside him. What the hell did they put in it?
“Oh, that's too bad. No, I want to take a few weeks and put together a killer set, you know? Got contacts in the Brabazon organisation. They can get me some good gigs at their city centre clubs, later in the year. No. No, it's not the gay quarter. Well yeah, it's on the edge, like. But it's not actually in the gay quarter. Brabazon have other clubs.”
Ronnie was wondering whether he could lob the remains of the kebab and the coffee directly into the bin from where he was sitting, when he heard the first positive thing of the day.
“Oh yeah, yeah, that's right, I do coding! Yeah, love it. Why? Have you got something? Oh OK. Yeah, I know the Bell. Up Walsall Road. I can be there at seven, if you like. Cheers mate, see you in a bit.”
Something of the desperate had overtaken Ronnie. For weeks, he'd sat in the shop, surfed the web, bigged himself up on Facebook and closed early to meet slappers off Tinder in the Morrison's car park. He waited for the money to roll in from the business, but it was only when his own money had rolled out that a sense of impending disaster crept in through the door.
He sat in the Bell Ale House on the corner of the Walsall Road and stared into his phone. There had to be something other than bloody coding, but there was this feeling that after working for yourself, even in the loosest sense of the word, getting a job with a boss and a team of other wage-slaves, just wasn't gonna cut it.
The bar was almost empty, just one other guy up at the counter, sat talking quietly to the pot-man. When the lobby door opened, Ronnie looked up to recognise Jack in his regulation hoodie, pulled up over a beanie.
“Alright, Jack?”
Jack acknowledged him and came over to his table. He nodded at the pint glass.
“You having another?”
“Go on then. Cheers, mate. Quester. The Special.”
Ronnie logged off Facebook and slipped the phone onto the table when Jack brought over two pints and sat on the bench. Ronnie circled his fingers in front of his face.
“The beard's going well.”
Jack muttered and stroked at it.
“Yeah, I haven't got time these days to get down to the poodle parlour. It'll just have to grow. What's happening with you, then?”
“Nothing much.”
Ronnie was getting fed up with spinning the old tales and thought saying nothing would be better.
“Well, look Ron, I'm back in the Black Country for a bit, doing a ton of renovation work on one of my offices, and I'm looking at getting the back catalogue of the record labels onto the net.”
“Don't need some remixes, do you?”
Jack winced, but delayed replying until he'd taken an inch off the top of his pint.
“Not really mate. I'm back in the old world of analogue production. Tapes and ribbon mics, you know? I'm building a little mastering suite round the back of my gaffe.”
They both drank.
“So, you're up for some coding then?”
Ronnie tried to look enthusiastic.
“You bet. What is it, a website?”
Jack rearranged his pint on the mat.
“Not exactly. It's a bit more specialist than that.”
“Custom apps?”
“You heard of the darknet?”
Ronnie looked at him with mild disbelief.
“What, like illegal stuff? Drugs and kiddie-fiddlers and all that?”
“No, you prune. The real darknet, not the propaganda to keep the public away. Well, I know some folks who are running private boards for whistleblowers. People in the press and the media who can't get stories broken to the public. They feed it to the alternative media because the mainstream won't touch it.”
“What, like nuclear secrets and spying for Russia, and that?”
Jack looked at Ronnie as if there was something wrong with him.
“I think your disco music has blown a few too many brain cells, mate. The darknet's a bit more mundane than Area 51, or spilling the beans about lizards in government. It's more to do with simple shit like corrupt politicians, controlled news media and, between them, what they're hiding from us taxpayers.”
“So, what do you need me to do?”
“I want to set up an aggregator for some whistleblower sites and publish it on the internet. Sort of like a resource for the alt-media to chase up. I'm looking for someone to write me some secure code for a foldering operation.”
“What the bloody hell's that?”
Jack sat back to think.
“It's like... an open email conversation. It takes place in the drafts folder of your webmail. You share the log-in and one or more people can update the draft. If you're all using your endec VPNs, it's totally anonymous.”
“How do you know who you're talking to, then? Could be anybody.”
Jack tutted.
“Bloody 'ell, Ron. You set up the meet through Fakebook or Instagram. Any of those mental midget sites will do. Get the posters to choose an online SMS and then send the handles, log-ins, shared IDs or whatever they need.”
Ronnie raised his chin.
“Oh right. So you can post, like your log-in is xyz and no one else monitoring the SMS would know what it was for?”
“Yeah, well that's how the spooks do it.”
“OK, I'm up for that. What do I do?”
“I need a framework to pull the finished drafts into an HTML file, so it can be dropped into an online page.”
I could do that.”
“It all needs to be archived offline with a searchable index by poster, post number, post referral, and keyword.”
That sounded less interesting.
“Yeah, I suppose I can do that, and all.”
Jack stopped for a sizeable quaff of the pint.
“...I need an Admin to troubleshoot, update and tweak the code, and someone live, to monitor the big guests.”
Ronnie was a bit less sure.
“That sounds like a full-time job.”
Jack put down the pint.
“You can do it from home, wherever that is. You can probably raise about two hundred quid a week through the Patreon and the board sponsorship. I'll make up any difference myself. How about it?”
“Two hundred a week?”
“How soon do you need it?”
It wasn't untold riches, but it was falling from the sky, just when Ronnie needed it.
“In that case, Chief, I reckon I can probably start the day before yesterday.”
They both drank and started to sketch the details. The pub never filled up. There were two couples who drank up and left, and some mates of the landlord who didn't buy a drink at all.
Ronnie looked around the old ale house with the dirty half-panelling and green flaking paint walls.
“Is this going to be our office, then?”
Jack finished his pint.
“It's closing down, mate. They're demolishing it completely in a few months.”
Ronnie looked at the bottom of his glass.
Seemed like there were businesses closing everywhere.

Like a lizard on a window pane.

ONE DAY AFTER Boris Johnson addressed the nation from a podium in Downing Street, the honeymoon was over, as the rhetoric caught up. It seemed to have taken two Prime Ministers to resign in order that the democratic will of the people could find someone to represent it. Finally, it struck home that perhaps, in the past, voting had only been of ceremonial value, because both parties had a path toward the same political direction. The big mistake that unseated Cameron and May had been to ask a straightforward question. Brexit, yes or no.

“Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger?”
“Achieve universal primary education?”
“Er... nope.”
“Promote gender equality and empower women?”
“No one even knows what that means.”
“Reduce child mortality?”
“Improve maternal health?”
“Combat HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases?”
“Ah. No.”
“Ensure environmental sustainability?”
“Nebulous hogwash. No.”
“Develop a global partnership for development?”
“Well, if they mean 'continue to fashion the basis for a fascist world order,' then I suppose that still has some legs. But again it's so deliberately nebulous that it can be interpreted any way you wish.”
“But these were the UN goals to be in place by twenty fifteen. One would imagine that four years after that deadline, someone would be calling it out by now. Do you not get any negative feedback from the faithful?”
“No. They just double down and become more fundamentalist, blaming capitalism, the world, Donald Trump or just white people.”
Alexander Gale put down the mobile phone, from which he'd read his list, and raised a forefinger as though testing the wind direction. He waved it for the benefit of a waiter.
“I'm going to have another coffee. How about you?”
“Yes. Go on.”
His lunch guest, Philip Street, was slightly conscious that other diners may have been disapproving of Gale's device, even though he accepted no calls and merely read from it. The little dining room was sparsely patronised, with only a couple of tables able to seat four guests. The other half dozen were for confidential conversations among couples, who gave the impression that apart from the lunch, the purpose of the room was clandestine liaison.
The elegant Victorian interior of the club was lit by high windows of square leaded panes that looked out onto St James' Park. It was a quiet retreat where politicians met with advisers, and where the anonymous men of Whitehall met with Secret Service sources. It was also where the latter two groups met with 'gray stringers', the uncredited freelance journalists whose credibility amongst the editorial classes had been forged by the accuracy of their apparent precognition.
Philip Street was a gray stringer with some pedigree. He had graduated from a young man on provincial free sheets, to the dark grind of the ideological factory backrooms of the London media. Eventually, the compulsive note-taker, and chaser of crucial detail, had worn out his welcome as a company man and became one whose face no longer fit. With a hefty book of contacts and a detective's eye for an unfolding narrative, he quit regular employment in the late nineties and became a researcher, and a contributor. Sometimes, he was also a purveyor of information between the miasmic world of intelligence mining and the editors of Britain's daily news. To Gale, MI5 and other British Intelligence services, he was a low-level cut-out. A courier between interested parties, whom both, or either, could disavow when the tide of information turned, or the consequences outweighed the benefits.
The waiter appeared in his short, cropped jacket, with a silver coffee pot wrapped in a white linen towel, and proceded to pour into Gale's cup.
Street accepted a refill in the tiny can and the waiter retreated.
“So, in your opinion, Philip, the Gates Foundation has simply embedded itself in the Guardian under the spurious pretext of supporting the United Nations millennium development goals. And then paid lip service to all of them.”
Street winced at the notion.
“Oh no. They never said they were going to actually do anything. They're just behind a website initiative to lobby governments to appear to be doing something. Bill and Melinda are just philanthropists who love the world, remember?”
Gale, a much younger man, with a face that showed emotion much more readily than the sixty year old Street, gave a small, incredulous laugh.
“Philip, do you know how much noise is being made about the Gates Foundation at the moment?”
“Of what?”
“The story about the Gates Foundation being kicked out of India for poisoning their youth, probably. It's all been denied, claiming that public health records have been misinterpreted.”
“Oh no, this is quite new. Have you heard of Anthony Fauci?”
Street committed to a brief search of his recent memory. Over the years there had been many thousands of names that criss-crossed the notes in his extensive library.
“At this stage of the meal, I don't recall the name.”
“He served in five American administrations as a director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. You don't know how long it took to commit that title to memory, but believe me, it has paid dividends over the last few weeks. He's suddenly becoming a very big player.”
“You mean Gates really did poison a load of kids with vaccines?”
Gale looked across the table and lowered his voice.
“We've been watching rather a lot of Fauci's speech from January twenty seventeen. A time when he was ensuring the world that the Trump administration was going to see the outbreak of a major pandemic before his first term was through.”
“A pandemic in America, Philip. Ever heard of Bernard Charles Sherman, otherwise known as 'Barry' Sherman?”
“Possibly, but again I hear so many names.”
“Canadian billionaire, Chairman and CEO of Apotex, the drug manufacturer. Murdered in December twenty seventeen, along with his wife, Honey.”
“Oh yes. I remember, though it didn't get much coverage here. How do they link to Fauci?”
“We're not sure yet, but we keep getting whispers on the wire. You know what I mean by that?”
Street looked over his coffee cup.
“Tapped lines, overheard private conversations... spying by any other name.”
“We hear a lot of talk about the company, Apotex, now having a bunch of their most commonly produced generic drugs withdrawn from sale by the FDA. Manufacturing deficiencies, they say.”
“Is that true?”
“Oh yes, they've been withdrawn, but whether the reason is bona fide, we don't know yet. It's just gossip from people who would have no need to know about that sort of thing. We're still fitting the pieces together, and finding out why it's of interest. There's no pattern yet. Apotex produced antibiotics like Azithromycin, and the malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine, and blood pressure drugs, and even a version of Viagra. Nothing exciting, all generic versions of cheap, commonly used drugs. So, your guess is as good as mine, but it's escalated all the way up to the World Health Organisation.”
“It hasn't crossed my radar, and no journalist I know is being sourced, if that's what you're asking.”
Gale took a sip of coffee.
“Fair enough. Just thought I'd run it by you. It's just something that's in play, and I suppose it may drop out again, just as easily. By the way, did you know Hitler's back.”
Street looked slightly alarmed.
Gale smiled into his coffee cup.
“Yes, there's rather a lot of him about at the moment. According to the liberal ideologists of the American left wing press, Trump is Hitler...”
“Ooh, I see.”
“...and Putin is Hitler, too. But, we've got our own, now.”
“Jeremy Corbyn?”
“Precisely. He's upset the internationalists no end and been awarded an honorary Hitler as a reward. That'll teach him to campaign on the grounds of renationalising the railways.”
“Perhps he just wants them to run on time. Oh no, wait, that was Mussolini.”
“Yes, another Hitler! Anyway, as you realise, the nonsense is that he's an anti-Semite who wants to let the socialist left loose on the Jews once he gets elected. All because he's intent on stopping the yard sale of privatisation.”
Street smiled at the usual manifesto tennis, and its essential paradox.
“Yes, he can appear to be quite the Nationalist. It upsets the media globalists no end. They have to push Labour, there's no alternative, but it doesn't half create some lumps in the wallpaper. The ideologically faithful in the newsrooms are still quietly fuming over JC appearing to have voted for Brexit. Corbyn has insisted that he backs a second referendum, with the avowed intention of cancelling Brexit in its wake, but it's not placating the hardliners.”
“It kind of sinks Labour in the polls, don't you think? Makes him look like a bumbler whose trying to play both sides. Gives Boris a bit of a mandate.”
“I think it sticks in peoples' throats that the basis of a modern democracy, as sold by the people who created it, is now being subverted because they don't like the result.”
“Like Trump, I suppose. Wasn't supposed to happen.”
“I think the dark forces trusted the media's control over the general public too much. Every time I get outside the white London bubble, the opinion of the country changes rapidly. I've even heard Remainers sourly comment that 'democracy's clearly not working.' In the offices of the frothing tabloids, they oscillate between the far right Nazis of Brexit and the far left Nazis of anti-Semitic Labour.”
Alexander Gale fiddled with his napkin, folded it first one way and then the other, before putting it neatly by his coffee cup.
“Look, Philip, I appreciate you meeting me for lunch. I've only been with the scribbling service for a year, and it's a particularly deep web. Especially when you can be held accountable for something you came up with five or ten years down the line, just because circumstances have become very different.”
Street smiled.
“That's why I present editors with information, not guarantees.”
“Yes, I realise that. But if you were tasked with something of crucial international importance, something that affected the future of the whole world, could I rely on you to stay the course?”
“You mean something like nine-eleven?”
“Yes. In a way, though nothing directly to do with it. Something that changes the course of history, and for which we require the touch of a velvet hand.”
“Like a lizard on a window pane?”
“Excuse me?”
“Old reference. Before your time. Never mind.”
Street felt a small tingle of journalistic anticipation. Stories such as nine-eleven went beyond earning a living. They were a stake in history, whenever and by whomsoever it may be written.
“I gather the usual procedure on a big story is to drip-feed only as much of the narrative as can be published in a day.”
“Of course, but once it starts... this cannot be stopped. There's that much at stake.”
Street drained the last few drops from his coffee cup.
“You could choose the services of a dozen good men...”
He fixed on Gale's serious expression.
“...but if it's that important, I'd rather it was me.”

logged in. your session id is >us3r145783<

THE ORIGINS of the now and future Darknet really began with Megaupload. It spread around the world through its speed, ease of use and storage space. Encryption meant privacy and apart from kids using it to share bad metal albums and pr0n, it became useful for whistleblowers to share journalism and even hold conversations through live docs and shared log-ins. Naturally, the secret services used it for the same thing, a sort of decentralised unofficial dropbox for field agents. But the traffic could go both ways.
It ran out of official control and became a liability, so the Feds shut it down. But, it was too late. Kim Dotcom's next venture was encrypted end-to-end, so no one at all knew what was on the servers. But, by this time, technology had moved on and it wasn't the only option.
Today, the spooks use all manner of third party private chat spaces to communicate. But so does everyone else. It's a sad reality that whistleblowers from government or big business don't get any thanks for exposing corruption and treachery, but are more likely to be sacked or imprisoned. Way of the world.
The Darknet is as likely a place for heroes as it is villains, and in a time when free speech is fast disappearing, the old adage is ever prescient.
“When we can no longer speak in public, we must whisper in private.”

US3R722970 08-NOV-20_04:12:16 No.71129 [^]
Thank you to LF. Right on cue, as the lockdown reaches its first weekend and there is a “literally” captive audience, the western media announce that Biden has won the American presidential election. To those still left who look beyond the western mainstream, we see that this is anything but true. It appears that as they see the new world coming galloping over the horizon, there is no need to bother with the truth anymore. Perhaps Colby's quote is prescient: “Our program of disinformation will be complete when everything the public believes is false.”

US3R172243 08-NOV-20_04:13:11 No.71130 [^]
It's the lies by omission that get me. Never a word about the uncovering of all the dead people voting, the videos of whistleblowers for the USPS, the arrest of Dallas Jones by the FBI, the voting machine 'glitches', the videos of people pulling up in station wagons and unloading boxes onto pump trucks, with no chain of custody, video of election workers altering ballots in the counting stations, observers kept twenty odd feet away. This has to be the most comprehensive gaslighting operation ever perpetuated on the western world. Certainly the most far reaching. To shut down whole countries, while they rig, what might conceivably be, the last American election in the old style. Wow. Just wow.

US3R287345 08-NOV-20_04:13:27 No.71131 [^]
So, what for the future? Now that there is no more honest media, can we expect the tech giants to go all out and remove opposing political views? The purge on Twitter, Facebook has been easy because the target audience is so weak, but what about the independents? What about things like the Switching Station which relays these boards? That could be attacked at the ISP level.

US3R722970 08-NOV-20_04:15:01 No.71132 [^]
^71130 Makes you realise the importance of boards like these, right? The anonymity sucks, but the realisation that it has to happen at all is proof in itself of the desperate situation. When Captain Cutlery had his meldown back in the year :) it almost (almost) seemed like an overreaction, but all it really was, was the guy waking up fully to how bad things are.

US3R172243 08-NOV-20_04:16:06 No.71133 [^]
^71131 Purging the opposition is one thing, but they're getting together target lists in the States. The odds on internment camps are shortening, especially as they have the cover of the Covid to try and legitimise an excuse! OK, that's extreme, but the purging isn't. Did you see the flag notice on the relay page to Random Skies? They got denial of service when it was using an algo to post stuff from these boards. They're doing it behind the scenes now and using a dropbox to pick up the pages as raw PDFs. I imagine that wothout direct intervention, that's a client-side button press and can't be interfered with. But it does mean that the next site to go down would have to be Random Skies itself. That might even be classed as book burning, no? I hope they've got something in reserve.

The year is 2039.
You'd think that with a one world government, when the planet has been conquered and settled by the new order of the United Nations, that once and for all the fighting would stop.
But it just goes on getting worse.
There's an information war in the city states as the media blanket-bomb their narrative, while the hacker underground furiously digs for the truth.
The survivors in the wilderness battle with Nature to live on dwindling resources and fading knowledge as the earth turns toxic.
The corporations use guerrilla warfare to create allies and gain economic ground, whether through trafficking, espionage or assassination.
And the elites? Their internecine struggle for mutual dominance is amplified throughout the world, spilling over into the lives of ordinary people in bombings, executions and the ever-rumbling holocaust of the container parks.
While the ragged millions fight with puny, improvised weapons, the elites have bioterror, mass extermination and their ultimate weapon... fire from the heavens.

Thousands of stories hit the internet news media every day, and without aggregation, it's easy to stick to the same sites and simply absorb their messaging.
MINDS.COM is a site where stories, articles and other postings that coincide with the themes of RANDOM SKIES are referenced as they are found, giving background and framing for the storylines in the books.
At the time of writing, MINDS.COM does not use explicit censorship to prevent internet users from accessing certain information.
With an account on MINDS, you can not only read the posts and articles, but also comment and interact with the author and team behind the dystopian series that is currently unfolding in the real world!